Here in America, we live in the land of opportunities. We are presented with s never-ending barrage of opportunities to invest our time, our money, and ourselves in things. We are presented with opportunities to serve on boards and committees, opportunities to volunteer at schools, churches, and nonprofits, and, if your house is like ours, you are receiving buckets of envelopes in the mail each day to invest your money in year end giving to a countless number of worthy causes (tax-deductible of course).
So. Many. Things. So many good things happening in the world. But if the answer to all of these invitations is yes, one finds oneself spread waaaay too thin, and finds themselves saying No to the people that matter. Your children. Your spouse. Your tribe.
So. How do you invest? How does one decide where your legacy will be?
It’s a question I have pondered. Often after I have fallen into the trap of too many yeses and too little margin. My knee jerk reaction is almost always YES. I see a need, a worthy cause, and I want to be all in. But ‘all in’ implies all of you. And I simply just can’t give that much at this stage of life. So. How to decide.
For me, this decision is fraught. How can I invest in Christendom, how do I live missionally in the world outside the church? How do I be the best mother I can be? How do I get filled up and refreshed, mentally, emotionally, spiritually?
I don’t have all the answers, but I have a start. I have started to view my decisions from a future standpoint, looking back. A year from now, a decade from now, at the end of my life, what do I want my story to be?
Where do I want to be proud to say I invested? Whose life do I want to have impacted? What causes do I want to champion? What stories will I be proud to tell my grandchildren.
Viewed from this lens, the answers surprise me. It involves less of the urgent, much more of the just. It involves building solid, strong, lifelong friendships. Of going deep, not wide.
It involves saying no, a lot. It involves realizing what is ephemeral and what lasts. It means ruthlessly eliminating ‘shoulds’ from my life. It involves saying no to too many weekends away from my family, even if the invitation seems appealing.
It also involves saying a lot of yes. To spontaneity. Joy. People, not programs. It involves calling my state legislators a lot more. It involves creating traditions and figuring out how to include my children in what matters to me. Popping my bubble and stretching myself outside my comfort zone.
In the end, I want my story to be colorful. With strongly patterned themes throughout. People. Time. Love. Justice. Jesus. Using my gifts and talents to make this world better, not just busier. More beautiful, not just more crowded with stuff.
What’s your story?